Arum explains what boxing has learned from MMA

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Boxing Bob Arum has a history of making disparaging comments about “the MMA” but during recent a press conference for Saturday’s Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Miguel Marriaga, he expressed appreciation for the UFC.

Boxing operates with a bonkers and dangerous system in which prospects are characteristically matched with a years-long series of tomato cans, building an impressive undefeated record, before being matched with a gatekeeper or two, and finally getting a title shot. By contrast, MMA is a real sport, with relatively fair matchmaking. Randy Couture is one of the most popular fighters in MMA history, and his record is 19-11; in boxing that would make him kind of a bum.

Miguel Marriaga is coming off a decision loss in April, but he fought hard, and Arum pointed to MMA a source of inspiration for his inclusion in a title fight.

“UFC has taught us that a loss is not a death sentence,” said Arum, as transcribed by Alexander K. Lee for MMA Fighting. “If a guy loses a fight, but he loses heroically, and he gives 100-percent, people want to see him fight again and you can bring him back again.

“[Marriaga] lost the fight to Valdez, but he fought a very, very courageous fight, right? So now when you’re looking for somebody to put in with Vasyl Lomachenko, you remember the performance that he had. Now he didn’t get the decision against Valdez, but everybody gave him the props for a great performance. And that’s what we’ve got to do more and more in boxing. We cannot write fighters off because they lose a fight.”

“It’s a new era you’re seeing. You’re seeing the start of what boxing should be and what boxing will become, and it’s like deja vu all over again, because that’s what we had when I remember back in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Guys fought and if they fought well, you brought them back.”

Arum also pointed to the role the UFC played in building up Ronda Rousey into a major pay per view television draw. He hopes to do the same with U.S. Olympian Mikaela Meyer, who makes her pro debut on Saturday’s undercard.

“I really think that she has the goods, that she will be able to help us bring women boxing to the fore,” said Arum. “I really want to acknowledge the debt that we owe to UFC because they took this Ronda Rousey and they made her into a tremendous star. She ended up becoming the biggest pay-per-view star that they had and if they could do it with Ronda Rousey, we believe we can do it with Mikaela.”